Archive for June 2020

The Forgotten Gold of “Rango”

June 29, 2020

You might easily have missed the 2011 film Rango in the theaters, intended as a quirky western comedy and featuring Johnny Depp as a chameleon house pet stranded in the Nevada desert who becomes the sheriff in the town of Dirt inhabited by a variety of desert anthropomorphic animals who move faster and more convincingly than most animal characters in films intended for children. Pictured above is the alluring vixen Angelique (Claudia Black), who is the secretary to the town mayor, an elderly tortoise.

Now Rango satirizes a number of western traditions and films, and there’s even a virtual Clint Eastwood character who appears rather mystically as The Spirit of the West. Although essentially a kid’s movie, there’s enough subversive darkness and hidden spoofs in the film to keep adults happy, and a furry like myself enthralled. The animal characters do smoke, drink, and shoot at each other. The film was actually criticized for promoting smoking, and because of this some actually wanted it to have an R rather than a PG rating… but hey, this is a western after all, and it isn’t real…Lighten up!

So if you haven’t seen it, you can probably catch Rango on your small screen. Johnny Depp is a hoot as always, and Angelique could own me in like two seconds…I’ll forgive her for the cigarette!

Living the Fantasy…

June 24, 2020

When I was a child, I often fantasized about being a superhero; you know, one with powers!  Such superheroes often wore masks or cowls to hide their secret identity.  Well, now with the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears that I can live out my superhero boyhood fantasy everyday, wearing a mask out in public wherever I go without being hauled off to the asylum. And to think, had I worn a mask out in public even six months ago, people might have thought me an armed robber! Now I can wear a mask, and just blend into the crowd undetected, ‘cause everyone’s wearing a mask! 

Now the type of superhero mask that just goes around your eyes like the Lone Ranger or Green Lantern wore won’t pass muster in the pandemic. It’s got to go around your nose and mouth, which is more concealing and mysterious.  So concealed, I could be The Shadow, decades ahead of the curve with the power (acquired in the Far East) to “cloud men’s minds!”- – Don’t certain politics do that to some? The trouble is, such masks tend just to cloud my eyeglasses, and crime fighters who blunder into things make a poor nemesis of crime.  Criminals might, however, be disabled by laughter…

So I’ve got official blessing to wear a mask out in public, and in fact am strongly encouraged or even required to do so. Now if I could just get a similar blessing to wear a dramatic cape, I’d really be on my way to my boyhood superhero look! Capes are dramatic, you see, just by their very nature, and you can really swish about with them, assuming that they don’t trip you or get caught in the door, which might be embarrassing…

Eventually, of course, the aspiring superhero must acquire a sidekick, sort of a crime-fighting associate who is kind of learning the trade. I’m still working on that one…      

E*TRADE’s “Bear Market” Commercial

June 9, 2020


Bears have not gotten their proper representation or respect in commercials, with the toilet paper obsessed Charmin bears a case in point. One cannot readily imagine them functioning in a species-specific parallel world either, as the Chantix turkey appears to do so effortlessly in a number of memorable commercials. That may now change, as at long last, we are finally given a peek into a world where bears have meshed into the trappings of human civilization, courtesy of E*TRADE.

These bears calmly prowl the aisles of a supermarket on their hind legs, sniffing at cantaloupes and filling their shopping carts with generous amounts of honey, appropriately in those little bear-shaped clear containers. A bear family stops at the fish counter where they’re waited on by one of their own; there’s even a disabled bear who whizzes by in a motorized shopping cart! The cashier is likewise a bruin, calling for a price check on a honey container that stubbornly refuses to scan while the customer moans his annoyance.

“If this is your idea of a bear market,” we hear in the closing voice over, “maybe trading’s not for you.” We’re advised not to get mad, but rather get E*TRADE, and get more than trading…and I’d like to get more glimpses into the universe of these very relatable bears! They’ve evolved so far from the days of Yogi…

COVID Masking, and Identity Expression…

June 1, 2020

A few months ago, facial masks were rarely seen in public, and there was little interest in them. With the Coronavirus pandemic, however, masks literally became “must have” items almost overnight.  Your choices in them were originally quite limited and dreary, but demand has spawned a thriving cottage industry dedicated to their creation and marketing in an otherwise mostly depressed economy…

From just a few listings, places like eBay now offer for sale literally thousands of different homemade cloth masks in a dizzying array of colors, patterns, and presented images.  They have become almost fashion accessories, an expression of personal interests and identity.  One may procure a facial mask that proclaims one’s favorite sports team, or represents an affiliation or hobby.- – Who knows where a comment about one’s “cute mask” might lead?  (from a safe distance, of course!) 

The proliferation of more colorful and creative masks has become almost a daily Halloween for the masses, kind of a passive outreach tool in an age of social distancing.  So will you be a face mask fashionista?- – Show your colors!  What will your mask reveal about your inner self?!



 As Billy Joel’s lyrics noted in The Stranger, 

“Well, we all have a face

That we hide away forever

And we take them out

And show ourselves when everyone has gone

Some are satin, some are steel

Some are silk and some are leather

They’re the faces of a stranger

But we’d love to try them on”



In a way, self-disclosure can be quite…liberating!  May we all have a happy, more nearly-normal June…